The Al Qattara Cinema will mark a historic step in the growing strength of Emirati-Israeli relations with the film event for the first time bringing together filmmakers from the two countries in celebration of shared experiences.
Organised by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), in collaboration with Image Nation and Jerusalem Sam Spiegel Film School (JSFS), the next edition of the popular film festival will be a virtual screening event on January 28th and will display four Emirati and four Israeli short films.
The event will provide a virtual cinematic platform that will celebrate talented creators by bringing them closer to new audiences and draw attention to cultural relations between the two countries’ communities and arts sectors.
The event is a first and significant milestone in the agreement between Abu Dhabi Film Commission, the Israel Film Fund (IFF), and JSFS to promote goodwill, tolerance, and bilateral cooperation in the fields of film and television as part of a series of mutually beneficial strategic initiatives. It also paves the way for future programmes that will serve to strengthen the professional and cultural ties between the Emirates and Israel.
“Cultural exchange, artistic cooperation and creative dialogue are at the heart of our cultural agenda at DCT Abu Dhabi and they constitute an intrinsic approach to our cultural initiatives,” said HE Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of DCT Abu Dhabi. “Our aim is to support institutions and initiatives that celebrate cultural expressions from all over the world. Al Qattara Cinema is a landmark event in Abu Dhabi’s cultural calendar and this year will introduce a broad audience to UAE and Israeli short films. We are looking forward to this event as the first collaboration of its kind, aiming to showcase the two nations’ creative talents and strengthen Emirati-Israeli cultural relations.
“Abu Dhabi continues to nurture the culture creative sector as it is an important sector to the Emirate strategic ambitions. The initiative of Al Qattara Cinema continues to support one of the key domains of the creative industry and to provide film makers the opportunity to be introduced to the wider segments of our audience.”
This year’s event will see various film styles screened virtually, including narrative, documentary, and animation from the two countries’ artists. The selected Emirati shorts include Ostora by Faisal Al Shiryani, Feeding 500 by Rafed Al Harethi, Jumaa & Hakim by Alawi Shareef, and Omnia by Amna Al Nowais. The Israeli films will include Portrait of my Family by Omri Dekel-Kadosh, Blessed by Prague Benbenisty, Swing by Shadi Habib Allah, and If you Only Knew by Einat Gaulan. All entries will contain subtitles.
The event will be screened in a pre-recorded video format hosted on the official Abu Dhabi Culture YouTube Channel.
“I am delighted for this first joint event for our two countries. This historic event is an important bridge for creating a new path, forging cultural ties, and opening opportunities and a variety of professional initiatives between Israeli and Emirati filmmakers,” said Dana Blankstein Cohen, Director of JSFS. “The films selected for this programme by Emirati film professionals allow a peek into current and relevant filmmaking from talented graduates of our school. This is the beginning of a cultural, social and professional dialogue that we will build together with the belief in the creative tools of art as the inspiration for connecting peoples and cultures.”
“Who would have believed that one day Israeli films would be screening in the UAE?” added Lisa Shiloach Uzrad, Director of the Israel Film Fund. “I am truly certain that this meeting between Emirati and Israeli filmmakers will lead to real bonds, creating opportunities for both film industries, while connecting people and cultures. This is just the first of many initiatives that we are working on as we expand our cooperation for further joint projects.”
Al Qattara Cinema is a programme for showing films produced by UAE, Arab, and international filmmakers to the city’s audiences and those interested in learning about cinema.
Since the Abraham Accords’ announcement, designed to initiate diplomatic relations between Israel and the UAE, new collaborations and engagements between Israeli and Emirati institutions are taking place continuously, resulting in a steady stream of mutually beneficial opportunities.
Source: Department of Culture and Tourism